Over 20 bikers and ATV/UTV riders turned out Sunday for the 1st Annual Sunday Funday Ride: Poker Run and Fundraiser, in support of the Merrill Food for Kids Program, hosted by the Merrill Community New Year Ride.
Currently serving approximately 160 children per week during the school year, the Merrill Food for Kids program is overseen by St. Stephens United Church of Christ, with the help of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Calvary Lutheran Church and First Presbyterian Church.
The program begins every year with a letter sent home from the MAPS Central Office requesting parental permission for a child to participate in the Food for Kids program. The only pre-requisite is that the child is enrolled in the Free or Reduced Lunch program.
Relying strictly on donations, volunteers purchase non-perishable items and microwaveable entrees from local grocery stores. The food items are then packaged for delivery by volunteers at all four churches; each church being assigned to a school. Once packaged, the food is then delivered to the schools mid-week.
Typically the Boars Nest is closed Sundays, but owner Jr. Osheim not only opened his establishment specifically to host riders as a route stop, but later joined in on the ride. Chris and Karen Streich-owners of the Hub Inn- made the Father’s Day event a family affair, joining the ride with son Michael and contributing to fundraising efforts with a 50/50 raffle.
“We were a little unsure of what we would see for a turnout given we planned the ride on Father’s Day,” comments New Year Ride chair and co-founder Jeremy Ratliff. “But in the long-run the ride ended up becoming a Father’s Day activity for many of those who joined us and that just made the ride that much more fun. We saw a lot of cameras being used and family members just having a lot of fun and making memories together, and all for an amazing cause. But this is just the beginning. We will be getting together again for another run on Saturday, Sept. 8, supporting our partner organization, Rosco’s Ride. Rosco will be gearing up for his third annual ride and has his sights set on doubling what we raised over the weekend. Us trail riders will be out in the hills doing what we can to help make that happen. Come on out and join us Sept. 8 for the ride and other festivities in support of the Merrill Food for Kids program!”